On Saturday, a Carroll County boy went to a football game with family members and had dinner at a restaurant with his grandmother. The next day, 13-year-old Nizzear Rodriguez was dead.
As he slept inside his family’s apartment, he was shot to death before daybreak Sunday, according to police. Hours later, a 17-year-old boy was arrested in the shooting death. Carrollton police said Monday the boy’s death may have been a case of mistaken identity and said there could be a second suspect.
“He was smart, intelligent, he always smiled and he loved to play basketball,” Nizzear’s aunt, Kanisha Osorio, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Never got in trouble, never hung around the wrong crowd. He was just a bright child.”
Outside the Chancery Lane apartment where her nephew lived, Osorio said Monday afternoon it was hard to believe the boy’s death was real. She last saw him Saturday when family members drove to Cobb County to watch Carrollton High School play football, she said. Early Sunday, a family member found the boy dead.
Carrollton police Capt. Chris Dobbs said Malik Davis, 17, of Carrollton, was arrested late Sunday night and charged with murder, burglary and possession of a firearm during the commission of certain crimes.
“Information has come to us that he was in the area with a firearm,” Dobbs told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We do believe there was possibly another individual with him and we’re currently working that angle, trying to get that person identified.”
Dobbs said the shooting was possibly a case of mistaken identity, and that Nizzear may not have been the intended target.
“I’m not ruling that out, that they just went into the wrong apartment looking for another individual,” Dobbs said. “We have no information this family was involved in anything, or had been involved in anything.”
Davis, who is being held at the Carroll County Jail, does not live in the apartment complex. It was not clear late Monday if Davis knew Nizzear.
The investigation continued late Monday.
— Photographer Ben Gray contributed to this report.
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